Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Writing Exercise

I ran across this one via my goodreads email, alerting me that one of the authors I follow had posted a blog post. The author has a writing exercise, named Story Weekend, which requires a story to be written about a subject matter she proposes.In this case, Most Memorable Shopping Trip. The story had to be true and less than 100 words. While writing a true story was more up my alley, writing it in 100 words or less was not.

Oh. And no foul language. That was not good as I was going to make that my "signature" move.

I managed to pull it off. I do this a lot when I tweet, cutting back my words and substituting acronyms or symbols for words to condense my tweet into 140 characters or less. In this case, however, it didn't seem appropriate to use acronyms or symbols.

This is the story I posted:
My daughters and I were at a local mall. I allowed my 12-year-old to go browse alone; my 8-year-old stuck with me. I decided to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. I anticipated a long wait. Instead, we were seated instantly. However, I was missing my tween. I left my 8-year-old at the table to search for her. Once found, she was excited. “I got you something!” Instead, I greeted her with exasperation. We walked back to the restaurant in silence. Later, she showed me the mug she bought for me. I will always remember how ashamed I felt that day.
This happened a few years ago. I had the brilliant idea of surprising CJ with a lunch break at The Cheesecake Factory. After MiMi and I window shopped, I decided it would be a good idea to get into "line" for the big wait for a table. But luck (or bad luck) was on my side and we ended up getting a table right away.

CJ was shopping solo so I had been texting CJ about where she was, how we were heading over to the restaurant, then a text about being seated. No answers.

I was getting annoyed. My number one rule is that she needs to make sure that she responds to my texts so I know where she is always. So after annoyance, and more waiting at a much-loved table at The Cheesecake Factory, I started getting scared.  Was she kidnapped?

So I was freaked. I told MiMi that I was going to see if I could see her from the restaurant entrance, that faces into the mall. I didn't want to leave MiMi all alone but I wasn't going to be long. I walked out, angry and nervous, searching for CJ.

I found her. She was walking towards me. Her face lit up when she saw me. She was excited. She lifter a bag and said "I got you something!" Instead, I was pissed. "I have been texting you!!! Where have you been???? We've been waiting for you at the restaurant!!!"

We walked back in complete silence.

We had a very awkward meal. But I can cool off quickly and I could tell CJ was feeling bad. I asked her what she got and she showed me all of the things she had purchased. Then she handed me the bag that she had excitedly shown me earlier. I opened it up and found a mug. A mug she read at the store and thought of me. It was the sweetest thing I had ever received from her and I felt instant shame.

In fact, I still feel shame when I grab that mug for my coffee. And that's OK. It reminds me of how awful I was. I had made that moment stressful by going to the restaurant, then getting a table, without CJ. It wasn't her fault (we later discovered her phone had inadvertently shut off).

Fast forward to now. When we hit the malls now, I make sure she knows where I am and she does the same. Constantly. Like every store. Or every moment ("I'm in the checkout line!"). A memorable event of a different sort.

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